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Campbell, Jon. "Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War." Air & Space Power Journal 16.3 (2002): 118.
This text is very useful for any student who has watched Black Hawk Down and wants to know fact from fiction. Campbell gives background information on why certain events in the movie took place, and, in the process, reassures us that they truly happened. Campbell also provides statistics to be compared with the movie and some "after-the-fact" information that the movie does not go on to explain. Finally, Campbell compares the book to the movie and gives his opinion on how the movie positively and accurately portrays the actual events that took place.
Carruthers, S. L. "Bringing It All Back Home: Hollywood Returns to War." Small Wars and Insurgencies 14.1 (2003): 167-82.
"This essay looks at two Hollywood films Black Hawk Down and We Were Soldiers as reflective of a more general popular mood in the US that accompanied Operation ‘Enduring Freedom' and the removal of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. In part this mood was a militaristic one, though this can also be seen as a rather belated response by Hollywood to invest moral purpose in the US military following an earlier spate of hostile Vietnam war films. The two films examined are different in form: Black Hawk Down is a combat film about extraction while We Were Soldiers is unusual for a US Vietnam war film for investing moral purpose in both the US combat troops as well as the Vietnamese enemy. Overall it is possible to conclude that both films contribute to a kicking by Hollywood of its earlier Vietnam war ‘syndrome' which is likely to have wider cultural and political repercussions."
Dawson, Ashley. "New World Disorder: Black Hawk Down and the Eclipse of U. S. Military Humanitarianism in Africa." African Studies Review 54.2 (2011): 177-94.
"This article argues that Ridley Scott's film Black Hawk Down (2001) may be seen with the benefit of historical hindsight as a portrait of the fear of imperial overreach and failure as written through the psyche of elite U.S. soldiers. In Black Hawk Down, Mogadishu and its denizens are made to stand in for the worst fears of the American military and the civilian policymaking establishment: the city, and, by extension, urban Africa, is represented as a feral zone in which the U.S. military's unmatched firepower and technology are overwhelmed in densely populated slums."
Eversmann, Matt, and Dan Schilling, eds. The Battle of Mogadishu: Firsthand Accounts from the Men of Task Force Ranger. New York: Ballantine Books, 2004.
An anthology of firsthand accounts from six men who saw combat on October 3, 1993, from six very different vantage points. Eversmann plays a central role in the movie.
Hildebrandt, Gregory G. "A Story of Modern War". Review of Black Hawk Down, by Mark Bowden. Armed Forces & Society(2000): 160-62.
Hildebrandt reviews Bowden's Black Hawk Down as a story that teaches what "urban warfare" means. He analyzes the differences between the Rangers and the "D-boys" of the U.S. forces in Somalia. This may be helpful to a student analyzing Black Hawk Down. He also discusses how the story portrayed modem war in which American military personnel are increasingly planners or point-and-click warriors, and yet still the best-trained soldiers died.
Lacy, Mark J. "War, Cinema, and Moral Anxiety." Alternatives: Global, Local, Political 28.5 (Nov/Dec. 2003): 611-36.
This article talks about how cinema tries to show people the politics behind war and what happens to soldiers during war. The document is useful because Lacy talks about how Black Hawk Down tries to establish a way for us to relate to the brutality and suffering of war and the moral dilemmas that many of the soldiers are faced with. Cinema today takes advantage of technology and uses the best pictures to show the confusion of fighting that occurs in war. The article is a useful source to look at when watching Black Hawk Down because it offers background information as to why the movie may have been made and what the creators may have been trying to show us through the making of this movie.
Lisle, Debbie, and Andrew Pepper. "The New Face of Global Hollywood: Black Hawk Down and the Politics of Meta-Sovereignty." Cultural Politics 1.2 (2005): 165-92.
Black Hawk Down received polarized and oppositional reactions. Does it celebrate or denigrate American foreign policy? Does it rejuvenate American values damaged by 9/11, or is it just another piece of propaganda for American imperialism? But both views perpetuate outdated assumptions about the operation of sovereign power. Lisle and Pepper show how the film operates in terms of what theorists Hardt and Negri call "empire" and what they call "meta-sovereignty."
McCrisken, Trevor, and Andrew Pepper. "Hollywood's Post-Cold War History: The 'Rigteousness' of American Interventionism." American History and Contemporary Hollywood Film. New Brunswick: Rutgers UP, 2005: 187-210.
Sustained comparison with Three Kings (1999). "Where Three Kings constructs its scenes of violence in ways that raise questions about the consequences of war, the nature of modern fighting, and the political justifications for and ramifications of all the death and destruction being represented on the screen, Black Hawk Down embraces the visceral spectacle of the fighting in ways that close off any critical engagement with the larger consequences of what is happening. . . . Spectacle alone may enable action films in particular to perform well at the international box office but such a preference tends to obstruct the ability of a film to convey anything useful about the particularity of historical events."
Niemi, Robert. History in the Media: Film and Television. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2006: 171-72.
"A nonstop 144-minute cinematic firefight [that] has little to say about the geopolitical situation that put American soldiers in Somalia." The battle is politically sanitized by commercial imperatives and takes place in a "sociopolitical vacuum."
Shepard, Alicia C.. "Appointment in Somalia." American Journalism Review 24.2 (March 2002): 28.
Shepard's article is an excellent source because it recalls the Battle of Mogadishu and explains why Mark Bowden wrote the book Black Hawk Down. The article gives us Bowden's reason for writing the book and describes his talks with James H. Smith, whose son was killed in Mogadishu
Showalter, Dennis. "Imagery and Realism: The Two Faces of Black Hawk Down." Diplomatic History 26.4 (March 2002): 28.
The "two faces" that Showalter addresses are its Hollywood movie faults and its war movie successes. This article is perfect for any student doing research on the movie. On one hand, Showalter writes that Black Hawk Down lacks romances, marginalizes women and families, and skips through the back story to get to the current happenings. In this way, the movie lacks certain blockbuster aspects. But as a movie about war, he believes it separates itself from others like Saving Private Ryan by depicting the Americans not as citizens in uniform but as professional soldiers. Showalter feels the movie is less about cause and more about virtue.
Suid, Lawrence H., and Dolorea A. Haverstick. Stars and Stripes on Screen: A Comprehensive Guide to Portrayals of American Military on Film . Lanham: Scarecrow P, 2005: 27.
"Until the movie appeared, most people thought the United States had experienced an embarrassing defeat. . . . In the end the American spirit was the real hero."
Wetta, Frank Joseph. "'Now a Major Motion Picture': War Films and Hollywood's New Patriotism." Journal of Military History 67.3 (2003): 861-82.
"The 'New Patriotism' that has appeared in recent Americans films is not a revival of older, reassuring versions of patriotic fervor and ideological conviction. In actuality, the 'New Patriotism' can be seen as a repudiation of sentimental and ideological concepts that put nation and cause ahead of individual survival. The 'New Patriotism' celebrates, in essence, loyalty to one's comrades in battle, the ability to survive the horrific face of modern hyper-lethal weaponry and warfare, and the shared experience of battle. Films such as The Patriot, Saving Private Ryan, We Were Soldiers, and Black Hawk Down do not revive patriotism so much as turn it inside out so that the private motivations and goals of the individual soldier supersede any stated or understood national or public rationales for whatever war is being fought."
Winkler, P. "(Feminist) Activism Post September 11: Protesting Black Hawk Down." International Feminist Journal of Politics 4.3 (2002): 415-30.
Winkler focuses on both the shift of masculinity to a more feminine disposition with regard to the conception of war displayed by the production of Black Hawk Down. Winkler also argues that the production staff's collaboration with the US Department of Defense is a propaganda machine that allows politicians to sway the media to show the public what they want to see, rather than the truth. Winkler juxtaposes the initial text by Bowden and the proceeding film to show how much was left out because of the influence of the US government.
Yacowar, Maurice. "Film Springs Eternal." Queen's Quarterly 109.1 (Spring 2002); 61-71. Academic OneFile. Gale. Worcester State College. 15 Oct. 2007.
"Film Springs Eternal" is useful for any student researching the facts and history behind the movie, Black Hawk Down. Yacowar points out how Black Hawk Down glorifies the military. While the movie has great visuals and is filled with action, he maintains that film has the ability to propagandize. For example, in Black Hawk Down, defeat is transformed into triumph by emphasizing "[t]he army's determination not to leave any American behind." In his text he points out how the film leaves out certain images of an American soldier who was dragged naked through the streets. It is a good article to read when looking for differences in opinions.
Young, Marilyn B. "In the Combat Zone." Radical History Review (Winter 2003): 253-64.
"In the Combat Zone" shows the relationship between recent war movies and the history of American warfare. Young discusses how the mistakes of Vietnam and similar situations can be overridden in the minds of American audiences by the heroic deeds of Hollywood soldiers. Using examples from Black Hawk Down, We Were Soldiers, Band of Brothers, and Saving Private Ryan, Young discusses the union of Hollywood and Washington in their attempt to "kick the Vietnam syndrome." This article is useful because it discusses war movies in general and the actual historical content of them, while referring to Black Hawk Down.

See Also

Burnett, Eric. History through Film: Volume 1. Raleigh: Lulu Enterprises, 2008.

Doherty, Tom, "The New War Movies as a Moral Rearmament: Black Hawk Down and We Were Soldiers. Cineaste 27.3 (2002): 4-8.

Gates, Philippa. "'Fighting the Good Fight': The Real and the Moral in the Contemporary Hollywood Combat." Quarterly Review of Film and Video 22.4 (2005): 297-310.

Gross, Terry. "Ridley Scott Discusses Making His Oscar-Nominated Movie Black Hawk Down." Ridley Scott: Interviews. Ed. Laurence F. Knapp and Andrea F. Kulas. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 2005. 206-17.

Lawrence, John Shelton, and John G. McGarrahan. "Operation Restore Honor in Black Hawk Down." Why We Fought: America's Wars in Film and History. Lexington: U of Kentucky P, 2008. 431-57.

Machin, David. "Computer Games as Political Discourse: The Case of Black Hawk Down. The Soft Power of War. Ed. Lilie Chouliaraki. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 2007. 109-28.

Nolan, K., ed. Black Hawk Down: The Shooting Script. New York: Newmarket Press, 2002.

Rollins, Peter C. The Columbia Companion to American History on Film: How the Movies Have Portrayed the American Past. New York: Columbia UP, 2003.

Online Resources

Doll, Susan (updated by Joseph Milicia). "Ridley Scott." Film Reference.
Facts of and brief analysis of Scott's career.